Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

CSA Week 4: Vegetarian Delight

In Food on July 12, 2010 at 8:08 am

So much for CSA week 3.  It was sweltering, I ate salads – even the squash made it into salads – and I won’t bore you with it.

As the heat lifted last week, the urge to cook returned, and I managed to serve almost all of Farmer Dave’s Week 4’s haul in one large vegetarian meal.

For apps, I whirred a bunch of basil into a quick pesto (using olive oil, Parmesan, pine nuts, honey, lemon juice and sat and pepper), topped it with more olive oil and served it with ciabatta and a bowl of  goat cheese.

Zucchini au gratin took center stage, accompanied by a citrus beet salad, minted peas, and wilted greens with caramelized Vidalia onions.

Dessert?  The first of the native peaches, peeled and sliced and tossed with a little brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, then topped with whipped cream.

I plain forgot to take a picture.

Zucchini Au Gratin Serves 4-6.  I doubled this for 12 adults and 4 kids.  We had leftovers for dinner the next day.

I used Manchego because that’s what I had on hand.  Parmesan alone would do the trick, and nothing baked ever suffered from the inclusion of Gruyère.  The basil is optional.  Fresh thyme baked in with the vegetables would work.

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 small yellow summer squash
  • 1 large pattypan squash (5-6 inches in diameter)
  • 2 small red potatoes
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 cup Manchego, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the squash and potatoes into very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the olive oil in a large bowl.

Coat an 8 or 9 inch square casserole dish with a thin layer of olive oil (I used a brush).
Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish—no need to layer them squash-potato-squash.  Season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the Manchego and Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15-20 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

Citrus Beet Salad

  • 6 medium beets
  • 4 oranges
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Wrap washed, whole beets in tinfoil and roast 1 hour or until done.  Stick a fork in one to test; it should slide in easily.  Allow to cool before peeling.  The skin should slip off easily.  I peel by hand, wearing gloves to avoid staining.  Slice beets thinly into rounds.

Prepare oranges as follows. Cut the ends off.  Place one now-flattened end on your cutting board, and shave the peel and pith off with a sharp knife in vertical strips.  Cut into disks, reserving one half of an orange for juicing. Arrange orange slices on a platter, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Top with a layer of beets and thinly sliced red onions.  Drizzle with more olive oil.  Squeeze the reserved half orange over the beets.  Season again with salt and pepper.

I know – the onions above aren’t yet caramelized.  I snuck a few out of the pan early to get this shot taken.  You really want a lovely light brown color, which can take quite a long time to develop.

Wilted Greens

  • 1 head Swiss chard
  • 1 head amaranth
  • 1 head arugula
  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Remove the stalks from the swiss chard; dice and set aside.  Wash the greens in a sink of water, inspecting each leaf.  Place the still-wet greens in a large stockpot over high heat.  When they let off a sizzle, begin to turn them.  When they are wilted remove them from the pot to a large bowl, leaving the liquid behind.

In a small sauce pan, heat a generous pour of olive oil.  Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes (a small dash or more depending on the desired level of heat) and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until garlic begins to take on a golden color.  Add the diced chard stems; cook until softened.  Drizzle the olive oil and chard mixture over the greens.  Toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Caramelized Onions

  • 4-5 Vidalia onions, sliced into rounds
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Paprika

In a large pan, melt the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and a dash of paprika.  Sauté the onions until translucent and cooked through.  Salt generously.  Turn heat to very low and cook, stirring often, until the onions take on a golden light brown color.  I cook them for at least 2 hours, and will leave them on the stove all day if I have the luxury.


Weeknight Dinner: Tuscan Kale & Beans

In Food on May 5, 2010 at 8:43 am

My sister Maggie perfected this dish, which belongs smack dab in the very selective “Healthy Comfort Food” category.  I can eat it by the steamy, cheesy, lemony vat.

It’s incredibly versatile.  To make it vegetarian, substitute vegetable for chicken stock.  Vegan?  Do the same and omit the Parmesan.   To make a stew, add more chicken stock and a more liberal pour of wine.  Maggie sometimes adds chicken and serves it over brown rice.

Oh, and it’s also gluten-free.

Don’t skip the white wine, or the dousing of lemon juice at the end.  Actually don’t skip anything!  Simplicity means you can taste every ingredient.

Tuscan Kale & Beans

  • Rinse 2 head of kale and remove tough stalks (no need to tear leaves).
  • Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into heated stock pan.  The raw kale takes up a lot of volume but will cook down significantly.
  • Add 1 chopped onion (or several shalots) and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add lots of crushed or finely chopped garlic – 4 to 8 cloves – and saute another minute.
  • Add kale leaves and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  Cover and allow kale to cook down, adding more stock as necessary.
  • When kale has cooked down, add 1 large can of rinsed cannelini beans and a dash of white wine.  Allow liquid to cook down a bit so alcohol evaporates.
  • To finish, season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice liberally over kale.  Add fresh grated Parmesan to taste.

Curried Cauliflower Dip

In Food on April 19, 2010 at 11:21 am

Remember the roasted cauliflower dip awhile back?

I’ve been playing around with using cauliflower as a healthy base for different flavors, and I really love this curry version for warmer weather.

Topped with chutney and served with pita chips, it hits all the right snack notes: creamy (thanks to yogurt), crunchy, sweet, and savory.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Curry powder
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash or two of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Chutney (optional)


In a large pot, bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower, partially cover pot, then bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain completely and transfer to a bowl.

In a small pan, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and salt and pepper. Saute another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Mash cauliflower into small pieces with a fork. Add onion mixture and stir with rubber spatula to combine. Add yogurt, sour cream, Italian parsley, nutmeg, cayenne and juice from half a lemon. Taste and adjust as necessary – add additional curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.  I love curry, so I was dumping it in at this point.

Top with chutney and serve with pita chips.

Warm and Hearty Vegetarian Roasted Cauliflower Spread

In Food, Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Food and Wine’s toasty, sesame-y, gingery spread is perfect for this time of year, when everyone’s detoxing from holiday cheese plates and sick of hummus.

It’s good enough to eat with a fork for lunch, which is exactly what I’m doing right now. Read on for recipe . . .